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Foul Weather Dampened the Turnout at the Last Basic Fly-fishing Clinic but Not the Fishing

Feb 27

Written by:
2/27/2013 10:40 AM  RssIcon

By: Al Kittredge

The weather advisory for Saturday dampened the turnout for our 4th Basic Fly Fishing Clinic hosted by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center, which is located in Fayetteville. We had 40+ folks registered but apparently many of them were fair-weather fishermen because only 25 showed up. Not to worry, we have only canceled once in the past 10 years and that was because the ponds froze over. Nevertheless, Saturday's forecast was troubling.  We kept a wary eye to the sky and our cell phone apps, which displayed radar of a fast-approaching front of plunging temperatures, rain, sleet and snow.

We start all our clinics with an overview of fly fishing by two of our experienced volunteers. While at least half the participants to our basic fly-fishing clinics do not have a clue about balancing the size of their gear to the species and fishing conditions, by the end of the day, they are informed consumers. They are now able to head to their local fly shop or search out the Internet and not be overwhelmed by the choices available.

After the overview, it was time to bundle up and head outside for a talk and exercise of the proper way to grip a fly rod and display of basic casting techniques.

We made an adjustment to the back cast station based on recommendations from several observers to include a front cast as well. This small adjustment made for better use of time and provided a smoother learning experience.

About 11 a.m., it was obvious the weather was turning worse much earlier than predicted. We finished all the casting stations and called everyone together to announce we were canceling the remainder of the clinic. The majority of our participants and volunteers nodded their heads in agreement and were likely thinking "what took you so long."  We sweetened the deal by issuing invitations for everyone to return on the afternoon of March 13 when we host our next Wounded Warrior / Military Appreciation Day event.

Knowing that some would not be able to take advantage of that weekday event, some of the volunteers agreed to stick around until 1 p.m., to assist the few brave souls who wanted to fish in the sleet and snow.

Luckily for them, the fish did not know it was raining. In fact the few die-hards who braved the elements caught as many fish in a short time as the entire class did during our previous clinic two weeks ago. 

Someone had to be the adult in the crowd so a little after 1 p.m., we blew the air horn to signal the end of the clinic.  We hope everyone had a safe drive home.

This was the last of our 2013 series of basic fly-fishing clinics open to the general public. The Good Lord willing we will do it all over again in 2014. This year, our clinics followed a different curriculum that concentrated on casting. We will send a survey to all participants to gauge their reaction to the new format.

The clinics open to the general public may be finished but we still have other events scheduled that center around the trout. We will conduct the final phases of Boy Scout Fly Fishing Merit Badge qualification clinics on March 2 and March 16.

The Pechmann Fishing Education Center also hosts Wounded Warriors, N.C. Handicapped Sportsmen and any military and their families on the second Wednesday of each month from 1-5 pm. The next one is March 13. We offer fly tying and basic fly fishing instruction. At least half of the afternoon will be spent fishing. Participants from our fourth clinic who were short changed because of the weather are invited back for the fishing portion on March 13 as well.

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